Karlovac - A City on four rivers

A centuries old city, a Renaissance and Baroque inspired town, Karlovac has been impacted from the start by the overland crossroads and the four rivers that flow through its county, which more or less have influenced the quality and potential of the city from the start. The city began as a fortified military base which was formed to dissuade any Ottoman invasions into the Austro-Hungarian Empire. As part of the empire, the city took its name (Karlovac or Karlstadt) from the Archduke of Austria, Karlo von Habsburg, who was also a military commander and had founded the site of the new city in 1578. The birth of this fortified city began with construction of the fortress on 13 July 1579.

The fortress was surrounded by ramparts, bastions and a deep moat, what we see today as the Karlovac Star. The urban plan was based on the ideal Renaissance pattern where the city was situated inside the lines of the star, or walls, where all structures were erected in defined geometric blocks. Military and sacred buildings went up first, followed by palaces, squares and houses. Soon after, the city received its first inhabitants of soldiers and civilians and life began. Military houses were built larger than artisan’s houses which were two-storey – the first level being the shop and upper levels for living space.